Bushfires Council and committees

The Bushfires Council is a statutory body that has a legislated responsibility under the Bushfires Management Act 2016.

They advise the Minister for Environment (the minister) on bushfire prevention and control in the Northern Territory (NT).


Members of the Bushfires Council are appointed by the minister for a 3-year term of office, and represent a range of land management interests from across the NT.

The members are:

  • Karen May - Territory Natural Resource Management, Chair
  • Edward Hayes - Chair of the Alice Springs Regional Bushfires Committee, Deputy Chair
  • Shenagh Gamble - Bureau of Meteorology
  • Mark Spain - Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services
  • Sharon Hillen - Northern Land Council
  • Benjamin Kaethner - Central Land Council
  • Will Evans - Northern Territory Cattleman's Association
  • Ian Stewart - Chair of the Vernon Arafura Regional Bushfires Committee
  • Paul Burke -  Northern Territory Farmers Association
  • Sally Egan - Parks and Wildlife Commission
  • Anna Pickworth - Chair of the Arnhem Regional Bushfires Committee
  • Karen Hayward - Chair of the Barkly Regional Bushfires Committee
  • James Lewis - Chair of the Savanna Regional Bushfires Committee.

Regional bushfires committees

Regional bushfires committees are statutory bodies established under Section 32(1) of the Bushfires Management Act 2016.

There are 5 committees; 1 is established for each of the 5 fire management zones in the Territory.

The functions of a committee, as detailed in the Act, are:

  • to advise the Bushfires Council on measures to be taken to mitigate, manage and suppress bushfires in the committee’s fire management zone, and
  • to endorse a regional bushfire management plan, prepared by Bushfires NT, for the committee’s fire management zone.

Bushfires NT is a division of the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security; the department is responsible for administration of the Bushfires Management Act and the Minister appoints members of the Bushfires Council and regional bushfires committees.

Members are appointed for a term of up to 3 years, and can be reappointed for further terms if the Minister so wishes. The Minister appoints one member to chair the council or a committee.

The committee’s involvement in development and endorsement of a regional bushfire management plan gives committee members a substantial say in regional bushfire management. The regional plan is developed by Bushfires NT, but must be endorsed by the committee. It clearly documents land use and fire management objectives within the region, and includes a detailed risk register.

The risk register clarifies who owns the risk, and details existing control measures and potential risk treatments. It uses standard risk analysis methods to grade risks according to likelihood and consequence, and thus it determines acceptability and need for further action. Read the current regional plans.

The committee’s other core function is to advise the Bushfires Council on regional bushfire management matters. The council reports directly to the Minister, and the chair of each committee sits on the council. This structure gives Regional Bushfires Committees a strong voice in the development of bushfire management policy in the Territory.

It is important that each committee represents a broad cross section of regional land use interests, and members are selected for their knowledge and experience in land and fire management, as well as their ability to represent the interests of land use sectors. A regional committee is most successful when members freely share information and adopt a collegial approach to their tasks.

While there is no prescribed schedule of committee or council meetings, it is usual for committees to meet twice each year prior to council meetings, with extra meetings at the committee chair’s discretion. Extra meetings may be required during development of regional plans.

Below are the members for each regional committee.

  • Edward Andrew Hayes, Chair
  • Sarah Cook, Deputy Chair
  • Benjamin Frank Heaslip
  • Ben Cromarty
  • Ross Phelan
  • Robert Martin
  • Georgina Mary Hamlyn
  • Philip Cowan

  • Anna Pickworth, Chair
  • Greg Wilson, Deputy Chair
  • Clarry Rogers
  • Neville Gulaygulay
  • Anthony Kennedy
  • Otto Campion
  • Robert Junior Redford

  • Karen Hayward, Chair
  • Ben Saint, Deputy Chair
  • Ross Phelan
  • Keven Stout
  • Ken Ford
  • Sharen Lake
  • Michael Rawnsley

  • James Lewis, Chair
  • Chris Parry, Deputy Chair
  • Sam Tapp
  • Jan Murphy
  • Johannes Venter
  • Brandon Lake
  • Sylvia Maroney
  • Sarah Kerin

  • Ian Stewart, Chair
  • Susan Jones, Deputy Chair
  • Alan Roe
  • David McLachlan
  • Colin Deveraux
  • Romy Carey
  • Grant Hamilton
  • Dianne Tynan

Last updated: 09 August 2022

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